Meaning Making With Picturebooks: Young Children’s Use of Semiotic Resources

Dani Kachorsky, Lindsey Moses, Frank Serafini, Megan Hoelting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


As part of a year-long, classroom-based research study examining literacy instruction and development, the research team observed emerging decoders draw from a range of semiotic resources while reading picturebooks. Utilizing a case study approach, the researchers selected eight first graders to act as a representative case, and examined their interactions with multimodal picturebooks. Analysis of students’ interactions led to the development of a typology of semiotic resources that students used to make meaning with picturebooks including typographical features, paralinguistic features, design features, illustrations, and background knowledge. Analysis also revealed that students articulated meaning in three distinct ways: explicitly, inferentially, and performatively. Findings suggests that traditional ways of assessing emerging decoders may not fully represent their meaning making practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-249
Number of pages19
JournalLiteracy Research and Instruction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 3 2017



  • Early literacy
  • meaning making
  • multimodality
  • picturebooks
  • social semiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this